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  • Pages: 5
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  • Category: Christian

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Most of Genesis chapters 12 to 22 centers on the life of Abraham and God’s covenant to make him the founder of a great nations and the father of great kings in bible history. A close analysis of these biblical chapters would reveal Abraham’s connection to Judaism and to the Jewish people. In the Old Testament, Abraham is considered a great Jewish patriarch and the founder of the Jewish nation promised by God. Despite his old age, the Lord promised Abraham a child whose name is Isaac, who would become the heir for his countless of offspring in Canaan, now Israel. The Lord made this promise because of Abraham’s unconditional faith and commitment to him.

To prove his strong faith in the Lord, Abraham even attempted to offer his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice. The aforementioned chapters in the book of Genesis show the life of Abraham as a devoted servant of God and a prophet, as well as the lives of and his kindred and slaves as wanderers in foreign lands. The life of Abraham indeed reflects the plight and life of wandering Jews in the Nineteenth Century before the Jewish people were granted the nation of modern-day Israel. Abraham traveled from his place of birth to different places upon the command of the Lord. They traveled from the place of Shechem to the oak of Moreh to the hill of Bethel and to the west of Ai where he built an altar in the name of the lord.

Abraham, along with his wife, also went to Egypt where he told Sarah to introduce him as his brother to the Egyptians in order to preserve his life. In Egypt, the Lord intervened by inflicting the pharaoh, members of his household and his male and female slaves with great plagues because of Sarah. God’s intervention made the Egyptian pharaoh set Abraham on his way, along with Sarah and all the things he had. Since Abraham and Sarah were childless, his wife suggested that he sleep with her slave Hagar. At the age of 76, Abraham, who was born in Ur in Mesopotamia, had his first son with Hagar whose name is Ishmael. Despite this, the Lord told Abraham that he would have children as many as the stars in heaven. Abraham could not believe that at his age 100, he finally had a son with his wife Sarah whom the Lord named Isaac. During the time of Isaac, the Lord also reiterated his covenant to send his people to the land of milk and honey, which was Canaan.

At 99 years old, Abraham received a covenant from the Lord, saying he would become the father of great nations. The Lord also told Abraham to circumcise himself, including his male offspring, male slaves and those whom he bought from foreigners with his money, as a sign of the covenant. The Lord warned that anyone who would refuse to be circumcised would be cast out for violating his covenant. This practice of circumcision was passed on from generations to generations up to this day, and which has become part of Jewish tradition. Today, circumcision is now form part of Jewish customs and traditions.

The most important part of these chapters is the Lord’s covenant of making Abraham the father of great many nations. In Genesis 17:8, the Lord promised to Abraham: “And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.” The duty of Abraham to the Lord was to keep this covenant, and to pass it on to his offspring throughout generations. The Lord however warned that for four hundred years, Abraham’s descendants would become wanderers in a foreign land that is that theirs, which is Egypt. The Lord’s promise of the land of Canaan was fulfilled after four hundred long years during the time of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, when Moses led them out of Egypt.

In Genesis 15:18-21, the Lord said to Abraham, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.” This bible passage describes the geographical extent of the Promised Land, which is from the River of Egypt to the river of Euphrates. Upon this territory the lord commanded Abraham to form a nation through his descendants who would be kings and leaders of many nations in the world.

The Promised Land was given to Abraham and his descendants because of his profound commitment to the Lord. The founder of Judaism, Abraham was a prophet who became God’s instrument in fulfilling the covenant, which was passed on to Moses and to Jacob who led the first settlers in the land of Canaan. However, another part of these bible chapters in the Old Testament is the life of Hagar and her son with Abraham, Ishmael, with whom God promised to make a great nation with him. Hagar and Ishmael were banished from the house of Abraham upon the order of his wife Sarah. Hagar and Ishamel wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba until an angel of the Lord came to Hagar to tell her of God’s plan. The offspring of Hagar and Ishmael soon became a great nation as what the Lord had said.

Part of these chapters is about God’s destruction of the two cities, the Sodom and Gomorrah, for the wickedness and grave sin of their people. Two angels from heaven came to the house of Lot to warn him and his wife and two daughters about God’s plan to rain on Sodom and Gomorrah fire and sulfur. Lot and his two daughters escaped the great destruction while Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt for looking back. To preserve their lineage, Lot’s two daughters slept with him when he was drunk. Their descendants were the Moabites and Ammonites. The story of these two sin cities during the time of Abraham shows that the Lord has to punish the wicked and save the righteous.

These chapters show that God cares for his own people. Like Abraham, most of God’s believers were wanderers, and before they finally found God’s Promised Land, they had to wander and serve as slaves in a land that was that theirs for four hundred years. God’s promise was only fulfilled during the time of Jacob and his people who were led by Moses out of Egypt. The Promise Land is indeed God’s symbol of love and pledge to his own people who faithfully and obediently served him.

Coogan, Michael, Brettler, March, Newsom, Carol & Perkins, Pheme. The New Oxford
Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
McGonigle, Thomas & Quigley, James. A History of the Christian Tradition: From Its
Jewish Origins to the Reformation. New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1988
Shelley, Rubel. Genesis: the Beginnings of Faith. Missouri: College Press, 1997

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